I love Battlestar Galactica. The past few weeks I've been powering through this series in a desperate attempt to catch up with the show. Now, I am not somebody who particularly like science fiction or fantasy movies or books. I mean, sure, I read The Lord of the Rings in 6th grade, but is that really so bad? I have never watched an episode of "Star Trek" nor do I particularly care to. Many of my best friends read that "Wheel of Time" series of books, but my attempt at reading those resulted in catastrophe, anguish, and a whole lot of boredom. Why am I taking such pain to emphasize this point? Well, I want to demonstrate that Battlestar Galactica is a show that is so good everyone should watch it despite the stigma it carries by being played on the Sci-Fi channel.
For comparison, I will use the two other television shows which I regularly watch as a jumping off point. 24 features an unrelentingly intense story, good acting, and movie quality visuals. However, it deals with contemporary issues with all the sensitivity of a bull in a china store. Torture? Only if the interviewee has a possible connection to terrorism. (Read: all 6 billion people on the planet.) Unsanctioned murders and abductions of citizens and dignitaries from foreign nations? It'll make the proceedings much more interesting. Like all of Dick Cheney's favorite dreams, any and all abuses of power are allowed and often encouraged. Now, what about Battlestar? Well, it routinely deals with all of these issues, and a few more, with much more dignity and concern for the human condition than 24 could ever conceive of. What makes this all the more interesting is that the enemies in Battlestar are expressly NOT human, they are half-human and half-machine. However, the mere idea that some modicum of humanity exists within these machines is more than enough to rule out the general acceptance of torture as a viable way to treat a prisoner.
I also follow Lost, a show known for its fantastic characters, mysterious setting and often painfully slow pace. Similar to Lost, Battlestar is an ensemble character drama that has several different plot threads advancing all at the same time. However, unlike Lost, Battlestar actually gets to the point quickly and when a tantalizing concept is introduced the show makes something of it instead of leaving the idea by the wayside. For example, a character in Battlestar went on a mission to a planet overrun by their enemy. When this character was stranded on the planet I immediately thought, "Great, she's going to be stuck on this planet for the rest of the season." My expectations for serialized dramas were shattered when she had rejoined the crew of the Battlestar only a few episodes later. Lost spent an entire season of the show forcing its most interesting character to sit in a bunker and push a button. Please don't get me wrong and assume that I don't like Lost, because I do very much, but I am definitely recognizing that Battlestar has a much better pace. Battlestar is the first show that has thrown off the shackles of science fiction stereotype to create a fantastic, relevant, and captivating program which deserves a wider audience.